To be a good steward you have to recognize your relationship to things that you have. When you think of the possessions you have as your own and that no one will dictate to you how to handle them or use them, then you are not being a good steward. The proper relationship to things is to understand that everything belongs to God and that you have been given them to manage on God’s behalf.
Here are seven tips for Christians who want to have a better understanding of stewardship and how to handle money.
Tithe to the Lord
There are differing thoughts about how the tithe should be given or used today (since Christ’s death); however, it is clear that we are to have an attitude that what we own comes from the Lord and to give a portion back to Him is a recognition of that fact. Whether you ascribe to storehouse tithing and a strict 10%, or you give according to the way God has blessed you, we should give cheerfully and thankfully (2 Corinthians 9:7). Everything we have is because the Lord has blessed us with it. Out of obedience and love we ought to be willing to give back to Him with confidence that He will take care of our needs.
Don’t Get Into Debt
Proverbs 22:7 “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”
The Bible does not forbid debt. However, it teaches very strongly that it is unwise to get into debt. Living within our means is spending what we make and can afford. It seems completely unchristian and unethical to spend money that we don’t own. However, we are guilty of doing it all the time. When we put something on credit, or borrow money to buy something, then we are not living within your means.
Unfortunately, it seems normal in today’s culture to live for today while presuming upon the future. Certainly it is not wrong to plan for the future. But James 4:13-16 tells us that we should plan based on God’s will with the understanding that our life is short and that we cannot control what will come tomorrow. Living constantly in debt is a presumption upon money we are not guaranteed to have.
Get Out of Debt as Quickly as Possible
Psalm 37:21 “The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.”
Proverbs 22:7 says that he who borrows from another becomes the servant to the lender. How can you hope to serve God and do whatever He asks of you if you are beholden to a bank for the next 6 years (or indefinitely)? You are not free to serve God as He wishes if you have an obligation to another master; yet not paying this other master would be wrong. If you are in debt then you should work as quickly as you can to get out of debt by paying it off.
Manage God’s Possessions
Colossians 1:16, 17 “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”
God owns everything; you and I are simply stewards of what God has granted into our possession. As stewards, we should be faithful to God (1 Corinthians 4:2) and manage what He has entrusted to us. The parable of the master who left various possessions to his servants (the Parable of the Talents) is a great illustration of our relationship to the Lord and the things He entrusts to us (Matthew 25:14-30). In the story the master rewarded the servants who used his money wisely. The one who did not was punished. How are you using what God has entrusted to you?
Accept Your Current Position
1 Timothy 6:7-8 “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”
Hebrews 13:5 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
A sign of Christian maturity is to be content with the things you have. Always wanting more displays a lack of trust in the Lord. That does not mean that it is wrong to work harder to better your position and condition in life, but it should not be what drives you. Your drive and passion should be squarely placed in the knowledge that God is in control and that He will care for your needs.
Seek His Kingdom
Matthew 6:31-34 “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
Make God and His will first priority in your life and He will supply the needs you have. These verses do not promise great wealth, but they do promise a Father who is personally concerned for your needs. Wouldn’t you rather have a God who cares for you than to have all the money in the world without an understanding of who controls it all? God is more than able to do much more than you can ever dream. Be blessed by the video and song in the upper right of this page.
Never Buy Unless…
Here is a five-step guide to help you know when a purchase is an appropriate one. There is nothing sacred about this list, but it is a good thing to think through each time you go to buy something—especially when buying higher priced items.
Don’t buy unless…
You need the item. If it is not a need, then why buy?
You can afford the item. That means that you don’t go into debt to buy it.
You have planned to buy it. No impulse spending.
The price is at, or less than the price you had planned to pay.
You were not manipulated to buy the item. Don’t let someone convince you that you need something without taking time to consider it yourself.
Involve Your Spouse
It is so difficult to control money and spending if you are not both in agreement to how money should be used in your family and marriage. As is often the case, opposites attract. Many times there is a saver and a spender in a marriage. This can cause great strain on a relationship unless you go to God in prayer asking for wisdom on how to proceed with your finances as a Christian couple. Allow God to guide you. This may mean that you need to seek godly counsel from your pastor or other mature couple in your church.
What’s Yours? What’s God’s?
I hope you see that everything you have comes from and belongs to God. You and I are simply stewards of what He has entrusted to our care. That may be money or items. Whatever it is, submit it to the Lord and ask for His wisdom in handling these things.
Resources: The Holy Bible, King James Version.